Nov. 20, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Columbia Lions (3-1 overall, 0-0 Ivy League) scored eight of the game's first 11 points and fought off a series of challenges from Villanova (3-2 overall, 0-0 BIG EAST) en route to a 75-57 victory at the Pavilion on Tuesday night at the Pavilion.
"We knew that Columbia is the kind of team that, if you fall behind them, it can be tough," stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "We had turnovers in the first half and missed free throws and when you do that, you put yourself in a tough position. Columbia was great - they moved the ball, made the extra pass, and we had trouble with their zone."
Alex Rosenberg scored 21 points for the winners while Steve Frankoski added 15 more.
Columbia jumped out to an 8-3 lead on the strength of a pair of 3-point goals from Frankoski and Villanova struggled to find an offensive flow in the first 20 minutes. The Wildcats limited Columbia to 9-of-27 shooting in the period and forced eight turnovers yet still trailed 26-22 at the break.
The primary culprits were turnovers (12) and a 3-of-9 effort at the free throw line. The Lions employed a 2-3 zone that Villanova had difficulty with it all evening.
"They were tough in that zone," Wright said. "I thought we had some chances inside that we weren't able to take advantage of. Mouph (Yarou) had seven shots, Bell had 11 and a lot of those were inside. (Mark) Cisco did a good job in there for them."
Frankoski set the scoring pace for Columbia with nine points in the first half.
Villanova had possession to open the second half but came up empty and that left the door open for the Lions. Columbia used a 15-7 run over the first eight minutes of the period to build a 40-29 advantage.
Each time the Wildcats attempted to creep closer, though, Columbia seemingly had an answer. Maurice Sutton'ssix points helped pull the `Cats to within 46-41 before a Grant Mullins three pushed the lead back to eight and a short while lead the edge was 54-44 with 5:45 to play in the period. The Wildcats began pressing and fouling but could not get the margin below double digits.
"(Brian) Barbour did a great job of leading their team, making the right play when they needed it and pulling it out when it wasn't there," stated Wright of the Columbia senior guard.
"They were making the extra pass and that got them open shots," stated Bell.
Villanova connected on 19-of-51 field goal attempts on the evening (.373) and was just 16-of-28 (.571) at the free throw line. The Lions created 12 steals and had one more rebound than the Wildcats (36-35).
The Wildcats were also 3-of-17 from outside the 3-point arc and are 8-of-35 (.176) from deep in their last two outings, both losses.
Next up for Villanova is a game at La Salle on Sunday afternoon (1:05 p.m./CBS Sports Network).